Add a sweet herbal spice to your Manhattan and you have transformed an old favorite into a new, intriguing delight with a ton of style. This is the Blind Pilot cocktail and it is perfect for shaking up your whiskey routine.
The Blind Pilot was created on one of those occasions when a patron came into the bar and asked me for something new featuring a combination of Galliano and whiskey.
At that time, the vanilla-anise liqueur had just returned to its original formulation and I immediately thought of pairing the herbal notes of Galliano with the richness of Vya Vermouth. I then added a touch of sweetness to the mix with the rich tones of bourbon.
The result is a complex cocktail with notes of vanilla, chocolate, and orange. It is an easy cocktail to make, requiring only three ingredients, yet the taste is complex and rather fascinating.
- 1 ounce bourbon whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Galliano Liqueur
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients.
Stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass.
More Tips for Making a Great Blind Pilot Cocktail
Jim Beam Black Label would be a nice upgrade to the whiskey. It is everything that we have come to love in the familiar White Label, only aged a few more years. It is the older brother among the Jim Beam bourbons and it does exceptionally well in easy, clean drinks like this.
Vya is one of those vermouth brands that is often overshadowed when it comes to making martinis and Manhattans, yet it is one of the best you will find. It is produced in California's Madera County at the Quady Winery and is a blend of Tinta Roriz and Orange Muscat.
If you have yet to try either Vya's sweet or dry vermouths, consider the Blind Pilot the perfect excuse. These are vermouths that you can enjoy on their own and that is a rare occurrence.
There is no viable substitute for Galliano so do not even bother looking for one. It is one of those proprietary herbal liqueurs that has a unique recipe that is impossible to duplicate and held in tight secrecy.
How Strong Is the Blind Pilot?
The Blind Pilot is definitely not a low-proof cocktail though it is comparable to other Manhattan-like recipes. It is filled with liquor and only the diluted water from stirring will bring its strength down.
The spirits are all called out by brand name so we know the proof of each: Jim Beam is 80 proof, Vya is 32 proof and Galliano L'Autentico is 84.6 proof. When all of this is added up, the Blind Pilot weighs in at a potent 33 percent ABV (66 proof).